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  • [Fun] Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

    Spoiler Alert now - if you don't want to talk about how Disney makes the magic, stop reading now. This thread is about the technical achievement of the Magic Mirror in Belle's cottage.

    Well Disney is known for it's 'magic' in its attractions, and in one of the newest opening in the fall of 2012, is Enchanted Tales with Belle. Part of this attraction is a magic mirror that transforms from a mirror to a door guests walk through.

    Here is a video provided by Disney Previewing the attraction


    It's a very cool effect and I was curious how it worked. So I've studied the videos a bit, and here's my theory..

    The effect is hidden by the wood chair rail and vertical columns in the room. The mirror has segments that telescope, and the wall below the chair rail actually moves.

    As the effect starts, mirror top and bottom frames telescope outwards, while the center of the mirror frame stays fixed. This can be seen in the videos where the ornate portions are on the 'outside' and smooth sections telescope out from the existing frame. Shortly after, the mirror grows verticaly by having the bottom portion of the wall slide down into the floor. The bottom edge of the mirror is attached to this wall, and as it moves down, the two mirror sides telescope outward to grow in length. The wall panel moves until the mirror's bottom frame is flush with the floor. This design allows the mirror's edges to grow in three directions while leaving the space revealed 'open' to see the projection surface behind.

    The keys to this are the mirror frame telescoping in both directions.. and the space BEHIND the mirror frame on the sides is actually open/clear. The mirror sides move approx. the width of the mirror sides themselves. This means the sides either float over the wall, or possibly have a slight overlap behind the mirror frame so it can be mounted and possibly drive the mirror's telescoping.

    The wall panel that moves has it's edges hidden by the wooden chair rail and columns on the walls in the room. The panel can slide behind the fixed wall when in the start position. The movement is also obscured by props sat on the floor in the room near the foot of the mirror.

    The sum of these movements are illustrated in this crude gif


    The green projection originates in the cottage and is hidden in the rafters. This animation of busy effects helps hide from guests the telescoping of the mirror's frame. It's not very visible in Disney's video, but if you look at this guest created video, you can see the edges of the telescoping sections much clearer.


    But what about the mirror surface itself?
    At the start, the mirror is a seamless mirror, that at the end, magically splits in half to reveal a doorway. The magic happens again by using the animation to obscure the change in the physical environment. Near the end of the animation, a set of wooden doors slides from right to left into view. This animation conveniently is the full length of the mirror and has dark areas where the seam of the doors meet. While this animation is sliding in, the mirror itself is actually sliding as well with a second mirror panel butted against it. When the door is to open, the two panels simply slide open like a closet door or pocket door would. The animation makes people think the door is opening backwards, but that is purely the projection on the flat mirrors.

    Watch the mirror surface as the stripped areas in the animated GIF


    So what do you all think? Have some other opinions on how it works? Please share!

    Original blog posts:
    http://coreplex.blogspot.com/2012/09...s-it-work.html
    http://coreplex.blogspot.com/2012/09...ry-on-its.html
    Last edited by flynnibus; 09-19-2012, 07:35 AM.
    Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


    Am I evil? yes, I am
    Am I evil? I am man, yes, I am

    Originally posted by sleepyjeff
    Disneyland was meant to be sipped not chug-a-lugged

  • #2
    Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

    Good observations and thanks for sharing. I don't have any opinions, but this looks really cool! You're also talking to the person who is amazed at the ending of Roger Rabbit when he puts the black hole and we go through it. :lol:
    Jeff Wayne






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    • #3
      Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

      Close to what I had sussed out, though I disagree on the disappearance of the mirror. I notice the door animation, but no physical splitting of the mirror. Once the animation cycle finishes, the lights black out for five seconds. That's plenty of time to get rid of the mirror. (Most likely it flies up above the doorway.)

      I'd also add that the top section of wall above the mirror is the only solid portion of that wall. The other sections are made of canvas and attached to the sides of the mirror. It's a lot easier to roll up canvas than it is to move a solid wall. The bottom section doesn't sink into the floor so much as it rolls up.
      Disneyland Historic Preservation Society
      Charter Member

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      • #4
        Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

        Originally posted by Broadway Guru View Post
        Close to what I had sussed out, though I disagree on the disappearance of the mirror. I notice the door animation, but no physical splitting of the mirror. Once the animation cycle finishes, the lights black out for five seconds. That's plenty of time to get rid of the mirror. (Most likely it flies up above the doorway.)
        The mirror is already open during that period.. you can tell this easily when you look in the second video. You can see the mirror itself move and you can see the green lights out on the floor of the room behind the mirror. The mirror opens during the wooden door opening animation.


        Originally posted by Broadway Guru View Post
        The other sections are made of canvas and attached to the sides of the mirror. It's a lot easier to roll up canvas than it is to move a solid wall. The bottom section doesn't sink into the floor so much as it rolls up.
        I could see the bottom section (the pink area in my drawing) but I don't think so for the sides. And It can't just roll out a roll.. well it could but I can see problems. Notable, how to keep the material close to the mirror frame on the vertical segments. It can't be attached prior because the frame telescopes and also crosses the chair rail piece. If it were to roll out from behind the chair rail, the mirror sides would float over it. The mirror bottom must also be supported, so it would require a structure to support the mirror, and then float a canvas curtain in front of it. Possible.. but haven't seen anything yet to lean that way.
        Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


        Am I evil? yes, I am
        Am I evil? I am man, yes, I am

        Originally posted by sleepyjeff
        Disneyland was meant to be sipped not chug-a-lugged

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

          Ok, im going to play dummy here. The entire cottage was built as a walk through , with the mirror as the centerpiece, or is the cottage leading to something else?

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          • #6
            Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

            Originally posted by redrhino54 View Post
            Ok, im going to play dummy here. The entire cottage was built as a walk through , with the mirror as the centerpiece, or is the cottage leading to something else?
            You start in the cottage, and then the mirror acts as a 'portal' to the Beast's Castle. The second half of the interaction is supposed to happen in the Beast's Castle.
            Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


            Am I evil? yes, I am
            Am I evil? I am man, yes, I am

            Originally posted by sleepyjeff
            Disneyland was meant to be sipped not chug-a-lugged

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

              OK, Thanks ! That mirror trick is cool. Looking forward to seeing it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

                I just wish Disney made Q's like this.....I mean love this but add it to some attractions like Toy Story Mania so I have a reason to want to wait in line


                And thank you for your theory on how this amazing tech works
                Happy Halloween!!!

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                • #9
                  Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

                  Originally posted by JerrodDRagon View Post
                  I just wish Disney made Q's like this.....I mean love this but add it to some attractions like Toy Story Mania so I have a reason to want to wait in line
                  I think Mr Potato Head was a pretty significant addition purely for a queue and worth seeing It's just at DCA they left it outside instead of inside
                  Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


                  Am I evil? yes, I am
                  Am I evil? I am man, yes, I am

                  Originally posted by sleepyjeff
                  Disneyland was meant to be sipped not chug-a-lugged

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

                    So i watched a vid. of the preview, and all i can say it, WTG Disney !! What a great and unique attraction. Everything looked fantastic , and now i get it....lol

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                    • #11
                      Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

                      Ok that pic is fantastic but wouldn't the bottem part of the wall need to move, not the sides??
                      Take a look at some of my models I make at kolbykonnection.com

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                      • #12
                        Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

                        Originally posted by mratigan View Post
                        Ok that pic is fantastic but wouldn't the bottem part of the wall need to move, not the sides??
                        ? The animation is the bottom part moving. The pink wall (which looks purple when behind the other wall) moves down.

                        There is a theory the purple part doesn't exist, but simply rolls out like paper from under the chair rail.. which could also be true. But with only the videos to go on, I can't really throw my opinion that way.
                        Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


                        Am I evil? yes, I am
                        Am I evil? I am man, yes, I am

                        Originally posted by sleepyjeff
                        Disneyland was meant to be sipped not chug-a-lugged

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

                          But the sides of the pink lower wall would also need to be expandable since the illustration shows the mirror/doorway expanding at the sides while the lower wall drops.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

                            Originally posted by Benny View Post
                            But the sides of the pink lower wall would also need to be expandable since the illustration shows the mirror/doorway expanding at the sides while the lower wall drops.
                            The mirror sides move to expose a gap that is already there - no need to push the wall out. That's the simplification between my first post, and the second. The mirror only extends width wise less than the width of the mirror frame itself. Because of that, the mirror frame itself is what blocks the opening, not a wall. So the mirror frame just moves to the side, over top the existing wall panel, exposing the gap behind it.
                            Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


                            Am I evil? yes, I am
                            Am I evil? I am man, yes, I am

                            Originally posted by sleepyjeff
                            Disneyland was meant to be sipped not chug-a-lugged

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

                              I'm assuming that until the action starts when cast members ask guests to step back a certain distance, anyone can go up to the wall to touch and closely inspect it. Canvas would be an impossible material to use in such a situation.

                              Originally posted by Broadway Guru View Post
                              Close to what I had sussed out, though I disagree on the disappearance of the mirror. I notice the door animation, but no physical splitting of the mirror. Once the animation cycle finishes, the lights black out for five seconds. That's plenty of time to get rid of the mirror. (Most likely it flies up above the doorway.)

                              I'd also add that the top section of wall above the mirror is the only solid portion of that wall. The other sections are made of canvas and attached to the sides of the mirror. It's a lot easier to roll up canvas than it is to move a solid wall. The bottom section doesn't sink into the floor so much as it rolls up.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

                                Originally posted by NautiMatt View Post
                                I'm assuming that until the action starts when cast members ask guests to step back a certain distance, anyone can go up to the wall to touch and closely inspect it. Canvas would be an impossible material to use in such a situation.
                                No, they keep everyone back.. the the base of the wall is semi-obscured with props.
                                Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


                                Am I evil? yes, I am
                                Am I evil? I am man, yes, I am

                                Originally posted by sleepyjeff
                                Disneyland was meant to be sipped not chug-a-lugged

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

                                  The mirror (to me) looks like the same technology as the "mirror" as TOT.
                                  If you watch in the top portion of the mirror (mainly right side), you can still see the "light fixtures"...when the "doors open" due to the "light fixtures" still being projected, it kinda ruins the effect because you can see that the projected area is splitting in two (the way the "light fixtures" "disappear". Hard to explain.
                                  As far as the mirror going down and expanding. I think flynnibus has it, then again I haven't watched it over and over and I trust his observation of the events.
                                  Last edited by DLFreak71; 09-19-2012, 10:09 PM.
                                  Quote by Al:
                                  To that end I'd like the Internet community to join me in reminding the Disney company that "it all started with Walt." As you can see below we've created some T-shirts, plus a few simple graphics that you can copy and paste into your websites to let folks know how you feel.
                                  -Al Lutz


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                                  • #18
                                    Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

                                    In the videos often you can watch things because you can see their reflections. This is also in part why I think the projector for the mirror surface is behind the glass.

                                    As for seeing it open, I think the animation does a good job of selling it as doors actually opening. In fact at first I thought it was paneling swinging backwards because the wooden door animation sells it so well
                                    Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


                                    Am I evil? yes, I am
                                    Am I evil? I am man, yes, I am

                                    Originally posted by sleepyjeff
                                    Disneyland was meant to be sipped not chug-a-lugged

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

                                      Flynnibus... I can confirm that your description is 100% accurate.
                                      -Bill

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                                      • #20
                                        Re: Belle's Enchanted Mirror - How it works and the secrets behind the magic

                                        Originally posted by Bill View Post
                                        Flynnibus... I can confirm that your description is 100% accurate.
                                        Sweetness! Deduction and study for the win!
                                        Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


                                        Am I evil? yes, I am
                                        Am I evil? I am man, yes, I am

                                        Originally posted by sleepyjeff
                                        Disneyland was meant to be sipped not chug-a-lugged

                                        Comment

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